The book Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo is about making lists to increase productivity.
As a blogger, entrepreneur, and busy mom, I find that making lists helps me to get things done because I often find myself running about a thousand different directions.
And sometimes it takes sheer willpower to focus on the task at hand, because, let's face it – not everything that we do is compelling and exciting.
One of the most powerful tools that I have in my productivity arsenal is a good list.
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I am a list maker – because that is what keeps me on track.
So, when I came across the book Listful Thinking – Using Lists to Be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed by Paula Rizzo – (Amazon) – well I couldn't resist putting it on my own list of books to read.
Not only that, I figured it would also be a great way to kick off the New Year – because I am fully intent on reaching the goals that I have set for myself here, and here, despite some personal setbacks that have tried to steer me off track.
List or Checklist?
I am pretty confident when I say that making lists is something that we have all done to get organized at some point or another in life.
The grocery list and the To Do list are probably the most common types of lists around.
But there is another way that I use a list – and until I read this book, I never realized that it was a different kind of list altogether. I often use a list to document a procedure or a process – especially a process that I do repeatedly. You know, like an instruction manual of sorts.
I refer to it as the dummy list or idiot proofing – with me being the “dummy” (or the idiot) that needs to be able to follow the steps and get the job done. Paula Rizzo calls it a Checklist, which is different from a regular old list:
A checklist is a formula for getting something accomplished.
Benefits of Lists
Making a list will decrease stress, increase productivity, keep you organized and focused, and give you a sense of accomplishment.
That is powerful stuff. That is why I make lists. Getting everything out of my head and onto paper gives me a sense of relief. And actually writing it the old fashioned way – with a pen and paper, is more effective for me than all of the electronic apps that I have tried.
I have always said that my mind has a finite amount of space – so I have to jot things down to free up space for new stuff. Sort of like a hard drive.
Paula shares her five-step process for making what she calls the Ultimate To Do List:
- Write it down
But she also says that making lists can also backfire – giving you a sense of having too much to do. So she also offers tips for working through the items on your list and figuring out how to tackle the important stuff.
The Format For a List
There are so many options in planners, apps, list pads etc – that it is hard to figure out which one works. And in some ways, it would be nice to have a magic bullet – someone to tell you to do it this one way and nothing else.
Related Post: Which Planner Layout is Right For You?
But really, the ultimate choice in the format that your lists take is up to you.
In Chapter 4 Paula shares how she sets up her to do list – and it is nice to see that, just to get ideas to use for your own.
My Expectations From Listful Thinking
Making lists is something that I do – both for work and home. My biggest challenge comes from having too many lists and creating a system to organize all of my lists. Often, I will write things down and forget either
- where I wrote it down or
- whether I actually did write it down.
So, sometimes I need to backtrack and recreate the wheel, so to speak.
While I have made improvements in this area by creating my own systems to stay organized, I wanted to explore other successful ideas for keeping track of the lists themselves. Paula did provide some insight into this but I was left wanting.
What I Do
Right now I use a system of paper notebooks (to satisfy my pen and paper cravings) and combine those with projects that I set up in Asana and related folders in Google Drive.
The hardest part for me is not to stray to a different app (because I love new apps and gadgets) and to make sure that I capture anything that I might jot on a scrap piece of paper or post it (hence those paper notebooks).
What is Your Relationship With Lists?
I would love to hear if you are making lists to organize your home and work life. Also, if you read Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo (you can see it on Amazon here), give us your thoughts on the book. Leave a comment below to hop in on the discussion.
More Books About Time Management and Productivity
Next week we will continue with the organizing theme by reading Time management from the Inside Out by organizing goddess Julie Morgenstern – find it on Amazon here.
It is a great read and gave me tons of ideas for managing my time better.